Bolsonaro uses his UN loudspeaker to attack Lula two weeks before Brazil’s election

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Bolsonaro criticizes “unilateral and selective” sanctions on Russia, advocates dialogue as only solution to Ukraine war

The president of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro, has used his lectern on Tuesday at the start of the sessions of the 77th edition of the United Nations General Assembly to lash out, although without naming him, at his rival in the elections in two weeks, former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.

“During my administration we have put an end to the systemic corruption that existed in the country. Between 2003 and 2015, the period in which the left presided over Brazil, the level of indebtedness of Petrobas (…) reached $170 billion. The person responsible has been convicted,” he said in reference to Lula, exonerated of the charges due to the malpractice of the courts.

After the UN Secretary General, António Guterres, Bolsonaro was the next to take the floor, as is the tradition in the United Nations Assembly, and took the opportunity to highlight the economic policies of his government, especially during the health crisis of the coronavirus.

Bolsonaro defended that they have sufficient “authority” to give their opinion on the global health agenda “since no effort was spared in saving lives and guaranteeing jobs”, at the same time that “a broad vaccination program” against COVID-19 was implemented.

“With more than 210 million people, more than 80 percent have the full regimen. All on a voluntary basis, thus respecting their individual freedom,” said Bolsonaro, who blamed his government’s economic measures for the fall in poverty generated by the pandemic in Brazil.

“The denounced have returned a billion dollars and we have paid the U.S. stock market another billion due to the losses of investors,” all this, he said, while continuing to invest in public services and in science and technology.

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Bolsonaro has highlighted Brazil’s role as one of the world’s leading food exporters. This, he has pointed out, is due to the “huge investments” that have been allocated to science and innovation. “If it were not for Brazilian agriculture, the planet would go hungry,” he has said.

Regarding the environment, Bolsonaro has assured that “Brazil is part of the solution and an example for the world,” thus responding to criticism of his policies in the Amazon. “More than 80 percent of the forests have not been touched, contrary to what the media mentions”, he has protested.

INTERNATIONAL CONFLICTS

The Brazilian president also pointed out that while the current United Nations has served to restore peace after World War II, the current conflict in Ukraine has served as a “warning” and has advocated “a reform” to find world peace

“After 25 years of debates in the Security Council, we have to look for innovative solutions. Brazil approaches the issue based on experience dating back to the beginnings of the United Nations. We have tried our best to offer negotiated solutions to pacify conflicts,” he said.

Among those solutions, he has explained, is the opening of its borders for all those fleeing conflicts, mentioning the case of the 350,000 Venezuelan brothers and sisters who have found shelter in Brazilian territory since 2018. “We have also welcomed Haitians, Syrians, Afghans and Ukrainians.”

As far as Ukraine is concerned, Bolsonaro wanted to thank countries such as Poland, Hungary or Slovakia for their help in evacuating Brazilian citizens when Russia started the invasion seven months ago now.

Referring to the conflict itself, he has pointed out that Brazil abides by the principles of international law and the UN Charter. “We advocate for an immediate ceasefire, for the protection of non-combatant civilians, the safeguarding of infrastructures to help the population and the maintenance of all channels of the parties to the conflict.”

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“These are the first steps towards finding a lasting and sustainable solution. We have worked in this direction at the United Nations and other places, we have tried to avoid hindering the channels of dialogue because of the polarization of the conflict,” said Bolsonaro

“That is why we oppose diplomatic and economic isolation, because it is being felt in the world prices of food, fuel and other raw materials (…) It does not seem to us that the best way is to adopt unilateral and selective sanctions that do not square with international law,” he has insisted.

Bolsonaro has said that these restrictions have damaged the economies of many countries and that the conflict in Ukraine will only be resolved through dialogue. “Let’s not waste any opportunity to resolve the conflict,” he has demanded.

DEFENSE OF FUNDAMENTAL FREEDOMS

In the face of the criticism he has received for his attacks on some of the fundamental freedoms, Bolsonaro has set himself up as a “staunch supporter” of freedom of expression, assuring that since he has been president, Brazil has done everything possible to achieve freedom of creed.

“It is fundamental that everyone has the right to pray without discrimination,” Bolsonaro has emphasized, taking advantage of the juncture to offer asylum to religious persecuted by the “cruel dictatorial regime of Nicaragua.”

Among those “fundamental freedoms for Brazilian society” that Bolsonaro has mentioned need defending are “the defense of the family, the right to life from conception, the right to legitimate defense and also the repudiation of gender ideology”, in addition to “the protection of women’s rights.”

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